Vicar of Dibley's Dawn French says Alice tribute took 17 takes

Susannah Alexander
·3-min read
Photo credit: Des Willie - BBC
Photo credit: Des Willie - BBC

From Digital Spy

Vicar of Dibley star Dawn French has revealed that the show's tribute to Alice Horton took 17 takes to film because she found the experience so emotional.

French has revived her much-loved comedy character Reverend Geraldine Granger for three special festive episodes called The Vicar of Dibley in Lockdown, which see her character give sermons over Zoom.

One of the episodes features a tribute to Alice, who has died in the world of the sitcom following the sad passing of the actress who played her, Emma Chambers, in 2018.

Photo credit: Des Willie - BBC
Photo credit: Des Willie - BBC

Related: BBC responds to complaints over Vicar of Dibley special referencing Black Lives Matter

Speaking to hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford on This Morning today (December 18), French revealed that she was a "blubbering mess" while filming the episode, as she was remembering Chambers as well as the character of Alice.

"We hadn't had an opportunity to say goodbye to her and this was our chance," she said. "We made sure that the character had also died but everybody knows that Emma has died. So I suppose in my tribute it was Geraldine talking about Alice and me talking about Emma.

"Which is why it took 17 takes to do. The one that made it to screen was the one with the least crying because I was just a blubbering mess.

"That is the thing about Vicar of Dibley, it's very inclusive that way. It can be silly and light and it can address issues of the day and it can be warm."

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Related: Dawn French reveals why she's turned down Strictly Come Dancing

The actress added that she has high hopes for Geraldine's future, joking that she has been telling writer Richard Curtis that she has some ideas for a future career move for her character.

"She's definitely in Dibley at the moment, she is married and in Dibley. But I've always said to Richard Curtis she would make a great bishop!" she said.

We could definitely see Geraldine as the Bishop of Dibley...

The actress also spoke about her upcoming festive film Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse, which tells the true story of a six-year-old Roald Dahl meeting 60-year-old Beatrix Potter, and praised the efforts of the cast and crew for making the shoot happen.

"I didn't believe it would happen at all but all credit to Sky and the producers," she said. "They did not give up. We managed to go down to Cardiff and we recreated the Lake District in Cardiff.

"It's got beautiful animation in and it's very touching and very Christmassy. With Bill Bailey and Alison Steadman and Jessica Hynes and Rob Brydon... it was a complete treat."

This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV.

Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse airs on Christmas Eve (December 24) at 8.15pm on Sky One and will also be available on NOW TV.

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